London is an eclectic mix of true originality, quirkiness, and English eccentricity. I’ve called the city my home for many years now, giving me plenty of time to scout out some of the most unique places to stay…I may be a little biased but I honestly think some of the hotels here are seriously spectacular! From large and modern to intimate boutiques, here are my favorite cool and unique hotels that reflect the city’s taste for the extraordinary and the impeccably designed…
Yes this is really a hotel inspired by a treehouse, but I really love how the finished product is seriously unique and stylish – this extraordinary 4-star gem with eye-catching and strikingly beautiful decor is most definitely wow-inducing and charmed me as soon as I walked through the door! I’m a big fan of the intriguing collection of cleverly recycled objects, handmade details, lashings of gorgeous greenery, and the elegant but playful atmosphere.
Throw in 95 guest rooms with a quirky-chic design (complete with cute stuffed toys!) rainfall showers and Nespresso machines, 12 beautiful suites, an upscale Mexican restaurant, a fashionable cafe/wine bar, and a penthouse restaurant. I would definitely recommend heading to the stunning 16th-floor rooftop lounge which offers seriously stunning 360-degree skyline views including the London Eye, The Shard and Canary Wharf, this was my favourite stand-out feature!
I equally loved the location just off historic Regent Street at Langham Place in chic, upscale, and very-sought-after Marylebone, close to the BBC Headquarters and within easy walking distance to the shopping haven Oxford Steet – and equally as leafy – Regent’s Park.
Unique and striking Insta-worthy design
Lush greenery and recycled decor
Varied dining and stunning coummual spaces
Rooftop space with 360-degree views
Drinks can be a little pricey
Can get booked up at peak times
No onsite spa
This place is more of a very cool concept than a hotel, the 4-star exceptionally rated nHow Hotel started its well-received hotel chain in Berlin and quickly branched out into other major European cities. It’s located within a short distance of some of London’s most creative areas (just a 10-minute walk from Angel Islington, Clerkenwell, and Old Street).
On my visit I decided that it sums up the city itself – it’s a hip and happening creative haven, with lashings of colour, and a very unique and Instagrammable design but with an edge too! This inspirational ‘lifestyle’ hotel wants you to experience music, art, fashion, and architecture all rolled into one!
It’s a large hotel with 190 rooms and the vibe is laid back but the design is very eye-catching. I was a big fan of the trendy, high-end style mixed with graffiti-style art and spacious (for this city anyway), funky rooms complete with mod cons such as flat-screen TVs. In upgraded rooms, you’ll also find espresso machines. Other stand-out features include an on-site restaurant serving meat-free options and a great breakfast, a zen-like garden, a stylish bar, and an onsite gym. I’d definitely recommend taking advantage of the bike loans they have on offer so you can explore the city!
A fun and funky Insta-worthy design haven
Prime creative location in trendy Islington
Onsite restaurant and bar
Ultra-modern design might not suit everyone
10 minute walk to the underground station
Limited meat-free options
The fun, quirky, and thriving Mama Shelter brand began its life in Paris, it then quickly spread its wings internationally due to its huge popularity. It’s located in the popular hipster hub (and my favourite part of town) Shoreditch and this trendy, highly rated 4-star London hotel has quickly become one of the best unique accommodation options in the capital.
I love that it’s creative, funky, and friendly but also – bonus – affordable too! On my visit I found lashings of colour, plenty of kitsch eye-catching patterns and textiles, and quirky tongue-in-cheek details such as a chalkboard ceiling (loved this!), metal dog sculptures, bejewelled Darth Vader masks, and retro arcade machines.
It’s also located near lots of hipster-friendly cafes, pubs, and shops and just 4 minutes away from an underground tube station. The trendy rooms feature complimentary Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and minifridges and there’s also a hip onsite restaurant, a strikingly gorgeous – and fun – garden bar, and even Japanese-style karaoke rooms! If you’re a beer fan I’d definitely recommend trying their very own blond ale beer and hot espelette pepper which are delicious! Come to Mama, I promise you won’t regret it!
Quirky atmosphere and funky vibes
Budget-friendly with style
Retro arcade and lively bar
East End location near underground station
Fun vibe might not suit everyone
Bottled water is extra
Drinks are a little pricey
The Exhibitionist Hotel
Set in a row of handsomely restored 18th-century townhouses, this is an ultra-hip and exceptionally rated 5-star boutique hotel that has an exquisite and luxurious design but is uniquely filled with an Aladdin’s cave of striking contemporary art pieces.
I found it to be like a communal art gallery of sorts, home to a mix of rotating installations as well as set pieces of art. I loved the gigantic marble bull guarding the door and an imposing mannequin/lamp residing in the bar! It’s located in the upscale central location of the stylish shopping haven Kensington (only a 4-minute walk from South Kensington tube station and a 6-minute walk from the Victoria and Albert Museum and opposite the Natural History Museum).
Other amenities include flat-screen TVs, iPads, and free Wi-Fi, elegantly styled bathrooms with underfloor heating and rainfall showers, a swish onsite restaurant, a fashionable bar, and a (non-exhibitionist!) spa. If you can afford I would highly recommend booking a penthouse suite as you either get your own patio or jacuzzi!
Insta-worthy design and rotating art installations
Swish onsite restaurant
Prime upscale Kensington location near shops and museums
Upscale high-end amenities
Breakfast is extra
Water is extra
Eco-friendly, high-tech, and ultra-modern, with a strong Japanese influence, I’m a big fan of this futuristic and highly rated 4-star trendy hotel. It’s located in the creative and buzzy sought-after Clerkenwell neighbourhood filled with great bars and restaurants and about a 16-minute walk from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
In this version of the hugely successful chain, there are 212 minimalist ‘cabins’ or larger guest rooms which feature innovative technology, their signature SmartBed™, Wi-Fi, smart HDTVs, rainfall showers and a clean, chic white design. Some rooms offer seriously gorgeous city views and added seating areas too. I’d recommend families book the Premium Triple room for the extra space and beds.
Also on site, I found the Komyuniti a hip but laid-back bar and restaurant which serves up street food-inspired cuisines as well as cocktails and craft beers, a funky co-working space, and a 24-hour gym. Breakfast is also available onsite. Alternatively, you can opt for the newly opened Yotel Shoreditch which is located in one of the city’s most hipster-friendly spots – so quite a choice!
Japanese-inspired eco-chic design
Trendy Clerkenwell on your doorstep
Floor-to-ceiling windows with great city views
Some rooms are a little small
Food is a little pricey
Breakfast is extra
The Standard Hotel
I’m a big fan of this cool hotel with impeccable credentials (the same hotelier who founded the Chiltern Firehouse and Chateau Marmont) and where the bold and beautiful flock to in droves! The exceptionally rated 5-star hotel is located in the increasingly gentrified and lively Kings Cross area just 10 minutes from Central St.Martins.
Inside I found this place to be a dream, a fun, striking, and Instagrammable kind of dream. There’s a funky retro-inspired design, rooftop open-air baths (yes really!), a library, a trendy sound studio that hosts regular live music, and a 24-hour gym. I’d definitely recommend trying my favourite feature which was a windowless “deep listening” room for rejuvenating during the day!
The guest rooms feature Bang & Olufsen Bluetooth speakers, their own outdoor bathtubs, and minifridges containing vegan protein balls and truffle crisps – small details count! Other amenities include casual eats and beer in the onsite bar, small-sharing plates at Isla, and the Michelin-starred delights on the trendy top-floor restaurant overseen by top chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias.
Fun and groovy retro-chic vibe
Unique open-air baths
Regular DJs with live music events and talks
Unique rejuvenation room
Bustling central location and great terrace views
Food is a little pricey
Lively at night due to busy location
Breakfast is extra
No onsite spa
This is my favourite spot for a classy, unique and elegant city stay. Moored in the Docklands it’s located across from the ExCel London convention centre and connected to the city centre via the Docklands Light Railway and a 20-minute train ride (and is also close to the O2 Centre and Canary Wharf).
High-tech and high-spec, the Sunborn has luxurious interiors with an elegant and nostalgic Art Deco feel – think shiny brass railings, lashings of teak, a showy spiral staircase, and sparkling chandeliers. Classic rooms/cabins can be very spacious and feature en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen TVs Wi-Fi, touch-pad room controls, air conditioning, and my favourite – the cute pot-holes!
There’s also a sleek bar, a modern-day spa, and prices start from only £100 a night, so not bad at all! The views from the deck are worth a stay in itself and its peaceful location while still being very accessible to the city centre was also another bonus for me! Before leaving I’d suggest having a signature cocktail (or mocktail) in the Sundown Bar, the views are night are very romantic!
Unique upscale stay on a moored super-yacht
Art Deco Interiors and River Views
Stylish bar and restaurant
Luxury for reasonable prices
Drinks are a little pricey
No onsite parking
This gorgeous upscale hotel located on the River Thames is a true Instagrammer’s dream! The 5-star exceptionally rated Sea Containers Hotel is an ultra-chic and very large design hotel located in a privileged position in the vibrant South Bank district just a short walk from the Tate Modern and overlooking the River Thames.
On my visit, I fell for its unique design inspired by the decor of 1920s transatlantic liners but with a modern twist. The cruise ship-inspired hotel also has 359 modern guest rooms which feature custom furnishings and original art. It’s a special spot with a hip, buzzy vibe and filled with well-dressed fashionable types – this is the place to hang out and be seen!
In-room amenities include flat-screen TVs and free Wi-Fi, plus rainfall showers. Opt for an upgrade then rooms feature patios and/or gorgeous river views. I’d strongly suggest booking the superior room if available as then you get wonderful views of the city skyline.
My personal highlights include a glamorous spa, a high-tech 24-hour gym, a cinema room, upscale dining options, an onsite cocktail bar, outdoor seating, and a rooftop lounge with spectacular river views and DJs at the weekend.
Stunning award-winning design and waterfront location
Riverside restaurant and trendy cocktail bar
Luxurious spa and gym
Rooftop bar and a terrace with panoramic views
Restaurant food is a little pricey
Busy on weekend evenings
Not for the budget-friendly crowd
The Hoxton Hotel
With a funky urban lodge style – think open fireplaces, classic leather furniture, squashy sofas, exposed brickwork, and a buzzy atmosphere, I love that this place epitomises the urban cool of Hoxton/Shoreditch itself (a hip neighbourhood area of the city only a short tube or bus ride from the city centre) but with surprisingly competitive prices.
The ethos here is simple: the rooms are a base from which to either work or play and are stylish, intentionally fuss-free – but always with a playful eye for details. Design and vibe here are very important. My room, for example, had sleek dark walls, striking retro-style herringbone wood floors, a well-stocked minibar, and a lush rainfall shower.
Some of the rooms are less spacious so opt for these if you just require a funky base rather than a leisurely stay. All the rooms have the option of breakfast being delivered to your door every morning.
I personally loved that this hotel doubles as a social hub in Shoreditch for either remote workers or trendy bar-seekers with all the goings-on centred around the cosy lobby and the popular on-site Hoxton Grill also located on the ground floor. If you’re staying for a while I’d recommend heading to the co-working space in the lobby as it’s very easy to meet other travellers.
Busy neighbourhood location might not suit everyone
The cheapest rooms are very small
Can get crowded at weekends and evenings
No onsite gym
NYX Hotel Holborn by Leonardo
This is a new design hotel, with vibrant, creative, and chic styling and a great central location in Holborn just a 10-minute walk from Oxford Street, trendy Soho, and Covent Garden. As well as an exceptional location I found it to be filled with lashings of color, fun, and pop art. Think bright quirky art, neon signs, panes of glass in all colors of the rainbow, and retro-modern furniture galore!
The funky rooms – which come in a range of different sizes – feature funky and unique decor, teak floors, trendy Smeg fridges, floor-to-ceiling windows, eco-friendly toiletries, Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Upgraded rooms also have plush sofas in separate sitting areas.
My favorite hotel highlights include a trendy rooftop bar complete with fabulous views, the tequila and craft cocktails, two modern restaurants one of which has a DJ booth, a relaxing lounge offering afternoon tea. I would definitely recommend trying the spa before you leave, it’s a sublime art-adorned spot complete with a large swimming pool, and a modern gym.
Insta-worthy indoor swimming pool and spa
Trendy restaurant and bar
Sought after central location in Holborn
Rooftop bar with city views and live DJs
Some noise from weekend DJs
Party vibe might not be for everyone
Some rooms have small bathrooms
No onsite parking
This beautiful, unique, new, and ultra-trendy centrally located hotel provides a holistic, zen-like experience. The superb central location is just off Shaftesbury Avenue in the centre of the West End, near all the theatres, popular restaurants, entertainment galore, and Covent Garden too.
I’m a big fan. This place really is something quite different and the decor emphasizes natural materials and is geared towards sustainability. The 700 unique minimalist rooms are known as – and feel just like – “cocoons” and are soundproofed and air-purified too! The lack of distractions like TVs, electronics, and windows ensured I experienced a very different stay away from the norm.
Other highlights include a holistic studio, a modern gym, and the Lounge which serves natural and nourishing food and drink, its reasonable price, and its sumptuous mattresses. I’d definitely recommend booking a personal training, yoga or pilates session as this is not something you can get in every hotel!
Unique zen-like beds
Soundproofed rooms and a tranquil vibe
Health-focused amenities including gym
Great Central West end location
The minimalist design may not suit all
Limited in-room amenities
Rooms lack windows
The Good Hotel
Good by name, good by nature. I love this innovative, affordable, and ultra-trendy 4-star highly-rated floating hotel. Moored at Royal Victoria Dock outside the Good Hotel is a striking sight, it looks like a giant floating black shipping container (but one with an astroturfed roof!).
Inside it has sleek and trendy industrial chic decor and quirky details, a design world away from its neighbouring average-looking chain hotels. Their staff are former unemployed locals and they aim to train 15 new people every three months.
The communal areas are open-planned and relaxed and draw in hip-looking overnight guests, remote workers and locals, the guest rooms are cute and cosy with a trendy design and river views through a small square window. Its location is a 6-minute walk to the nearest station, it’s not centrally located but the Royal Victoria light rail station will connect you to all the city centre attractions via a 20-minute train ride.
Before leaving I’d suggest heading up to the wonderful rooftop terrace which comes complete with a lush lawn and having a drink in the sociable bar there, the water views are gorgeous! Overall it’s definitely a very Good/great all-rounder!
Unique floating hotel
Industrial-chic design and caring ethos
Scenic water views and rooftop terrace
Reasonable room rates
Docklands location might not be for everyone
No TVs in rooms
Rooms are compact
This cool spot is housed in a unique asymmetric high-rise building located on the highly popular South Bank area just south of Waterloo Station alongside the River Thames and not far from the Tate Modern, The London Eye, Big Ben, and Tower Bridge.
As well as the superb riverside location, I loved the stylish and unique modern design which comes beautifully accented with some chic quintessentially English design details including art murals.
The light and bright stylish guest rooms – which come in a variety of sizes – at H10 London Waterloo are equally as impressive with floor-to-ceiling windows offering superb city views (my favorite part and it really sets this hotel apart), iPods docks, tech-friendly flat-screen TVs with USB ports, minibars, and free WiFi.
My other highlights included a spa with a beauty centre, a fitness room, a sauna, and a chic lobby bar. Although my favourite was the very trendy roof terrace complete with an upscale restaurant which I’d definitely recommend visiting before you leave. It’s perfect for sipping on cocktails and watching a hazy sunset over the British capital!
Stunning roof terrace with great views
Floor-to-ceiling windows with views
Onsite upscale restaurant and a chic lobby bar
Central location near Waterloo Underground Station
Famous rooftop terrace can get busy at peak times
Some rooms are a little small
Breakfast is extra
No onsite spa or gym
This is a gorgeous, cute, and personal boutique-style hotel in a fabulous central location. If you’re not a fan of huge impersonal hotels then The Pilgrim Hotel is most definitely the antidote! It’s located in a Victorian building, in charming Paddington very near restaurants, cafes, and Paddington underground tube station which will quickly take you to Regents Park, Marylebone, Oxford Circus, and Hyde Park.
The 4-star hotel offers exceptional value but still with a touch of luxury, which is actually quite a tall order in the city! The stylish boutique-style pet-friendly rooms are chic and although some are very compact they offer a home-away-from-home oasis in an otherwise bustling area. Upgraded rooms offer city views and flat-screen TVs.
I also loved the sociable and friendly vibe, the fantastic breakfasts (I’d suggest trying their incredible French Toast which comes dripping with Nutella and honey), the original art, the free loaner bikes, the onsite plush lounge bar servicing craft cocktails, freshly pulped juices, organic coffee, and international cuisine, and the cute cafe with trendy exposed stone walls, quirky details and wood furnishings.
Great value central Paddington location
Intimate and personalized experience
Cool retro-chic decor and original artwork
No Tea/Coffee facilities in the room
Limited storage space
Cheaper rooms can be very small
AMANO Covent Garden
This place is located close to some of the best theatres, boutiques, restaurants, and pubs in the city, in the eternally popular central location of Covent Garden. It has the feel of a trendy European hotel, it certainly is very different from most other hotels in the city anyway. The style and design here are ultra-modern with clean lines, a signature grey and gold color palette and unique details.
Then we get to the views. The views are just outstanding and really sets this 4-star exceptionally rated hotel apart from rivals. The guest rooms – which come in a menu of quirkily named shapes and sizes – are just as impressive and my room featured wall-to-ceiling windows and a freestanding golden bathtub.
Other rooms are Cozy, Comfy, and Roomy. Many rooms have garden views and they all have mobile keys and tablets complete with a handy phone function. There’s also an innovative onsite Israeli-Spanish restaurant. Breakfast is particularly tasty and includes buffet, à la carte, and continental options.
Although my favorite was the Skybar located on the 7th floor with its open terrace and panoramic city views. I’d also recommend heading to the basement for cocktails, music, and dancing the night away for a very unique experience!
Overall I’ve been hugely impressed with the hotels in London, so much that it was actually really tough to narrow them down to this list. Some of my personal favourite include The Treehouse Hotel for its truly unique decor, The Standard for its cool party vibe, and the Pilgrim Hotel for its friendly and intimate atmosphere. I’d also personally suggest you book as far in advance as you can for the hotels as London can get very busy and some of the rooms in the most popular hotels go very quickly. Enjoy!
Insta-worthy rooftop bar and views
Cool basement cocktail bar
Some rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows and gold bathtubs
Some noise from basement lounge
Rooftop space can get busy at peak times
No onsite spa or swimming pool
All Hotels in London Compared
Following is a comparison of the Top 25 Cool and Unique Hotels in London based on a number of factors. You can sort the table with respect to the location of the hotel, the fitness facilities, the cost per night:
|Hotel Name||Location||Price Range (per night)||Fitness Facilities||Distance to Attractions (km)||Nearby Restaurants|
|Treehouse Hotel||14-15 Langham Place||$464-$980||No||1||3|
|nHow Hotel||2 Macclesfield Road||$258-$493||Yes||2.2||3|
|Mama Shelter||437 Hackney Road||$188-$256||Yes||1.7||3|
|The Exhibitionist Hotel||8-10 Queensberry Place||$301-$524||No||2.6||3|
|Yotel||96-100 Clerkenwell Road||$172-$326||Yes||1.5||3|
|The Standard Hotel||10 Argyle Street||$477-$1887||Yes||1.1||3|
|Sunborn||Royal Victoria Dock||$261-$473||No||3.9||3|
|Sea Containers||20 Upper Ground||$384-$997||Yes||0.8||3|
|The Hoxton Hotel||81 Great Eastern Street||$263-$276||No||1.6||3|
|NYX Hotel Holborn by Leonardo||Southampton Row||$339-$679||Yes||0.9||3|
|Zedwell Piccadilly||Great Windmill Street||$157-$742||Yes||0.9||3|
|The Good Hotel||Western Gateway||$112-$463||No||3.7||3|
|Leman Locke||15 Leman Street||$584-$798||Yes||0.8||3|
|H10 Waterloo||284 To 302 Waterloo Road||$288-$478||No||1.3||3|
|The Corner City||42 Adler Street||$166-$270||No||1.1||3|
|The W Hotel||10 Wardour Street||$674-$938||Yes||0.95||3|
|Megaro Hotel||Belgrove Street||$403-$592||No||1.2||3|
|ME by Melia||336-337 Strand||$494-$3645||Yes||0.9||3|
|Blakes||33 Roland Gardens||N/A||No||0.95||3|
|Mandrake||20 -21 Newman Street||$543-$5478||No||1.2||3|
|The Pilgrm||25 London Street||$200-$335||No||1.6||3|
|Ruby Lucy||100 Lower Marsh||$225-$371||No||0.9||3|
|AMANO Covent Garden||34-43 Russell Street||$283-$458||No||0.8||3|
|One Hundred Shoreditch||100 Shoreditch High Street||$308-$488||Yes||1.7||3|
|CitizenM Hotel||20 Lavington Street||$202-$281||No||0.8||3|
Where do tourists usually stay in the UK capital?
Tourists usually like to stay somewhere centrally located in the city, especially if they want to tick off all the main attractions such as the London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the River Thames.
Popular locations include the West End, Soho, and Covent Garden for their buzzy vibe, theatres, street performers, and plenty of great restaurants and bars, Southbank for its gorgeous riverside location and for being home to the Tate Modern and Southbank Centre or the upscale district of Kensington for the gorgeous shopping, tree-lined streets and great museums.
Visitors also seem to love the alternative and creative hubs of Shoreditch, Hoxton, Clerkenwell and Camden. Here, you’ll find vintage stores, design shops, fabulous markets, and plenty of trendy bars and restaurants.
Where are the coolest places to stay in the city?
One of the trendiest (and edgiest) neighborhoods is Shoreditch. A popular hipster hang-out, it has a fun, creative vibe with a gritty edge and lively bars, quirky independent and vintage shops, street art, a diverse range of restaurants and popular nightclubs.
The nearby areas of Old Street, Brick Lane, and Spitalfields are equally as hip and the latter two are home to famous alternative-style markets.
Other trendy areas include Camden, with its famous grungy market filled with street food and quirky things to buy, Hackney with its craft breweries, trendy foodie spots and vibrant nightlife, Brixton for its multicultural atmosphere and funky bars and nightclubs, charming Notting Hill with its colorful houses and Portobello Road Market, Clerkenwell for its cute and quirky shops, acclaimed eateries and design events and now the increasingly creative area of King’s Cross which now has art galleries and independent shops popping up.
How much do hotels cost in London?
The city consistently ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, so sadly, staying in a hotel isn’t always cheap, and some of the best accommodations in the city can get booked up fairly quickly too.
The trade-off is staying in one of the world’s best and most interesting cities! Prices start from around £100 a night for some of the lower-starred or holes with the best deals. Try to book outside peak times and in advance to get some of the best prices.
How to get there?
Most visitors fly into Heathrow Airport and then either get the underground train (which takes around 45-60 minutes to get into the city center) or the Heathrow Express a fast train service that arrives at Paddington Station and takes around 15-20 minutes or Heathrow Connect which also arrives into Paddington but is slightly slower (but also cheaper).
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Becky Moore – Owner, writer and photographer
My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my ex Athens street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Borneo, Finland, Greece, Berlin, Laos, California and the surreal and beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.
I’ve been quoted in Forbes, National Geographic, The Times, Yahoo Travel, Huffington Post, Business Insider, Thrillist, British Airways Magazine, Entrepreneur, express.co.uk, Wanderlust, Telegraph Travel, Daily Mail and metro.co.uk. Find me on Linkedin or Facebook.